Water-Related News

Who owns your beach? Four lines in the sand

Ownership of the land and sand in front of your Captiva home can be confusing. There are four lines in the sand that you need to know about: Coastal Construction Control Line, Mean High Water Line, Erosion Control Line and Land Survey Property Boundaries.

Coastal Construction Control Line: The Coastal Construction Control Line is the current regulatory line established by the state that defines the portion of the beach dune system subject to severe fluctuations based on a 100-year storm surge, storm waves or other weather conditions. This line is sometimes referred to as the Coastal Construction Setback Line, or CCSL, that was established in 1978 and subsequently revised in 1991 as the current CCCL. The CCCL places regulatory constraints on construction seaward of the line that provides protection for Florida's beaches and dunes, while assuring reasonable use of private property. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection regulates construction of structures and activities seaward of the CCCL which can cause beach erosion, destabilize dunes, damage upland properties or interfere with public access. Property may not be modified or constructed seaward of this line without approval from the Florida DEP. Also, the Florida Building Code establishes a base flood elevation for buildings located seaward of the CCCL. Lee County has recently modified the Land Development Code to establish a prohibition on any construction seaward of the old CCSL, with certain exceptions for public access.

Mean High Water Line: The Mean High Water Line is the average of all high-water heights measured over a 19-year epoch. The MHWL is the boundary between the foreshore immediately bordering navigable waters owned by the state and upland that is privately owned. It is critical in determining the Erosion Control Line, or ECL, prior to the construction of a beach restoration project.